Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Successful branding never just happens. Give the best experience to your consumers when they make (or consider) a purchase. Learn the following tips to get there.
Products represent far more than just something that consumers purchase to fulfill needs and wants. In many cases, they're also a way for companies to market a specific experience to shoppers. That's precisely why companies go out of their ways to cultivate a specific brand image.
According to one study, less than 35 percent of consumers actually trust the brands that they buy from. That means you'll want to work hard to ensure that the image you create is one that your consumers are going to resonate with.
Before you start to build a brand, you'll need to understand what it is exactly that consumers are looking for.
1. Branding in a Nutshell
Before you build a brand, you need to decide what a brand really is. While you might think that it's little more than the name and logo of a company, it also includes the firm's voice and attitude. Consumers interact with brands whether they buy into them or not, which means they're building an experience each time they have any contact with one.
Branding is the process of applying a specific feature to a firm in the hopes that consumers will associate a certain attribute with said company. A high level of brand awareness leads to a company's image being seen as popular. Consumers can't consider purchasing goods and services from a specific company if they don't know it exists.
As a result, you'll want to focus on building brand awareness before you do anything else. While you might think that a huge publicity stunt is the best way to do so, that might not be the case.
According to experts from DesignBro, working with an organization that can help you build a brand identity from the ground up might actually be more important. Think of how many companies you can remember based merely on their relatively simple minimalistic logos. More than likely, you can visualize quite a few.
Keep in mind that visual design is only a portion of what you need. You'll want to establish a target audience so you know what your team is supposed to be aiming for.
2. Honing in On a Single Target
Since branding can potentially lead to trust, you'll want to better understand who your brand will speak to. Take some time to figure out what kind of consumer needs your product and figure out what other problems they might need solutions to.
Some experts build a research-based outline of a prototypical customer they call a buyer persona. While you don't need to go this far, it does help to get a better grasp on what your customers need before you go any further.
Establish a mission statement that spells out why you created your business. At times, marketing gurus have suggested that small business owners write a brand manifesto that encompasses everything about why their organization exists. Once again, you don't need to go to this extreme. You do, however, want to build a brand that you truly believe in and use your own beliefs to shape the messages that you feed your potential consumers.
Hard numbers, if you can find them, are the best way to get a better picture of who might eventually buy into your brand. Startup companies often make the mistake of ignoring market analysis reports and plunge themselves deep into debt in the process.
Pay close attention to whatever data you can find about your potential consumer. If you can't state explicitly what kind of person might want to buy your products, then it's easy to imagine that nobody would.
That might sound harsh, but it's true. Your brand is supposed to provide help for people regardless of whether they know they need help in some way. Think of all of the various surfer-themed fashion brands that you've seen come into vogue over the last 10-15 years.
How many of these actually ever attracted a market of hardcore surfers? The answer is probably none of them, but that doesn't matter because they were able to provide a laid-back image to people who wanted a way to escape from their daily lives. You'll want to find a hidden desire like that and tap into it to ensure that your brand reaches the greatest number of people possible.
Over time, you'll be able to develop a growth plan that spells out your highest level goals and helps you visualize what inputs and outputs impact those goals.
3. Defining Your Company's Values
As consumer trust in major companies continues to erode, you need to figure out some way to make people want to believe in the image that you're selling. That's not easy if you don't believe in your own brand. Make sure to clearly outline what you believe in and how you feel your brand stands apart from everyone else in the industry segment you deal with.
Natural food companies have long led the way in this kind of marketing. They're able to position themselves as a healthier alternative to mass-market companies. Those that sell products that claim to be better for the environment have also done well to position themselves apart from the rest.
Considering today's increased emphasis on privacy, you might want to consider promoting your company's commitment to protecting your users. This is especially true if you're running a dedicated social media marketing campaign.
Once you have a brand in place, you're going to need to put it to work.
4. Deploying Your Finished Brand Image
Perhaps the first thing to do when you finalize your brand image is realized that no brand is ever truly finished. The public perception of your company will continue to evolve over the long-term. That means you'll want to use your branding materials on everything that your company puts out. Make sure your packaging and products are all branded appropriately.
If you end up hiring influencers, then you'll want to work with one who is going to actually promote your brand in a way that makes sense. Some people try slick commercial marketing campaigns that fail because their consumers expect an edgy and hip approach that doesn't seem so overproduced.
On the other hand, you'll want to go all out with the use of your brand image. Every single profile photo and piece of the cover art on your site and social media accounts should reflect your brand. You might even want to put your logo as your profile image since this can make it easier for your customers to recognize your firm.
All of your posts and captions should reflect the unique voice you came up with for your brand. Don't be afraid to play a character if it comes down to it. If your brand is snarky, then you'll want your posts to reflect that. While you don't want to be argumentative for argument's sake, there's no reason why you can't differentiate your brand by showcasing your unique sense of humor.
Every piece of web copy and all your calls to action are going to need to reflect this brand voice as well. You may even want to consider rewriting product descriptions and marketing copy to sound more like they're in line with your organization's vision.
Exterior advertisements should reflect this stance as well.
5. Framing Advertisements Through Your Brand's Image
You can expect that consumers in 2021 are going to be quite jaded and they might not trust most of the messages that they receive via advertising. That means you'll want to cut down on the marketing lingo and give your potential consumers genuine messages.
Those starting a dedicated email marketing campaign will want to focus on making a first impression, for instance, so they can be sure any follow ups will be well received.
Any marketing technique that you try will need to rely on a number of different approaches in order to reach as many people as possible. Make sure that every single one of these incorporates your brand in some way. At the same time, don't start associating yourself with other organizations that might offend your target audience. Consumers who feel that their favorite brands have finally sold out will be unlikely to buy into them any longer.
Always treat your brand as a person who has an identity and a certain type of personality. Ask yourself how your brand would introduce itself and then use the answer to that question as a frame of reference when messaging your prospective clients. Some business specialists have even used this method to come up with personal brands, which should help illustrate just how powerful these techniques are.
Think about what someone might say about your company after they met your brand for the first time. You may want them to describe it using some specific words. As soon as you know what kind of adjectives you'd like to hear consumers using to talk about your brand, you'll be in a much better position to figure out the best way to reach them.
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